Core strength is a crucial part of your body’s flexibility, internal health and strength training. Core strength is more than a set of “sit-ups” and it does more than help you achieve the coveted flat stomach (although that’s a nice perk!). Core training supports your spine and helps improve your balance. The muscles in your abdominals and back are connected to your legs, which in turn affects the way you stand, squat, and your overall posture. These same muscles are also connected to your glutes, which help support your body and your spine so that your entire body weight isn’t placed on your skeletal structure.
Try the following 6 Yoga moves to strengthen your core…and you will find while working on your core, you will strengthen the rest of your body as well!
Dukes of Hazzard: Put your hands on your deck (or the seat of a chair) and hop back and forth over the deck as many times as you can. If you need to, do 8 or 10 jumps and then take a break for a couple seconds before starting again.
Glute Bridge Crunch: Lay down with your legs bent at the knee and your feet on a deck or a chair. Keep your heels at shoulder width. Tighten your stomach and your glutes as you press through your heels to lift your glutes and lower back off the floor. Your shoulder blades should remain on the ground. Squeeze your legs and glutes at the top of your range of motion and then lower yourself back down. Once your hips touch the floor lift your shoulder blades up and engage your abs as you crunch up. Return to starting position and repeat.
Plank Knee Rotation: In a hand plank position, place your hands on your deck (or chair) underneath your shoulders. Keep your hips up and your butt down with your head in a neutral position. Bring your left knee to your left elbow and squeeze your abs and obliques. Once you feel your abs contract, thread your left leg underneath your body through the right side. Pivot on your right food so you rotate as far as you can. Return to your hand plank starting position and repeat on the right side.
Plank (not pictured): For a hand plank position your hands on your deck (or chair) underneath your shoulders. Keep your hips up and your butt down, with your head in a neutral position. Keep your legs together and squeeze from your quads through your lower abs. For a modification, perform the blank on your knees.
Punch: (not pictured) Standing with your feet hip-width apart, secure a resistance band underneath each foot holding a handle in each hand. Pivot your right foot as you punch your right arm across your body to the left side. As you punch, engage your core and let your obliques guide your rotation. Return to a standing position facing forward and repeat on the left side. If you do not have resistance bands, you can use hand weights (or even water bottles will work!).
Squat to Knee Raise: Using a resistance band, assume a squat position with your feet at hip width apart and the band securely underneath your feet. One handle should rest on the floor, and the other in your left hand. As you lower yourself down into a squat, push your heels into the ground until your knees are at a 90-degree bend. As you stand, squeeze through your quads, hamstrings, and glutes while you keep your core engaged. Press the band overhead as you raise the opposite knee. The higher you raise your knee, the more the opposite flute and your core will work. Return to a standing position to repeat the rep again.